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Baird G.M.,AWI Consulting LLC
Journal / American Water Works Association | Year: 2010

Proper investment in and using a geographic information system (GIS) with full functionality results in an overall reduction in capital project costs and operations and maintenance costs. The development of a full-fledged GIS supports the data needed to build and maintain the technical, financial, and managerial capacity required by the USEPA. GIS is mission-critical for a robust and comprehensive capital planning process. The geodatabase of the GIS can be used as the asset registry and as the core data repository for all assets. This database can be used to create a comprehensive all-pipes hydraulic model. An all-pipes model can offer both operational and capital efficiency analysis. Paired with an optimizing genetic algorithm (GA) application, tens of thousands of scenarios can be quickly run to determine the low-cost/best solution combination based on individual community goals. The key to sustainability planning includes leveraging the investment in GIS for both the CMMS and the optimized hydrologic model.


Baird G.,AWI Consulting LLC
Water and Wastewater International | Year: 2011

Significant challenges are being faced by a number of states in the US to increase tariffs and introduce advanced metering infrastructure. The City of Atlanta is addressing this challenge by increasing its annual water bill by 206% by 2012. There are several lessons that have been learned as a result in the country and can offer guidance internationally. The public accepted the fact that a price need to paid to avoid having to carry their own water buckets from a raw water source to meet their water related needs. Laws have been passed in the states to allow developers to pay to offset the capital expansion costs when the high costs of growth and expansion started to force up water rates. These fees and charges are called connection fees or tap fees, which pay for the new infrastructure costs only.


Baird G.M.,AWI Consulting LLC
Journal / American Water Works Association | Year: 2010

Several factors that need to be considered when allocating limited reserves or available debt financing capacity between existing infrastructure needs and water supply projects are discussed. Some of these factors include the way the project is defined, who benefits from and pays for the project, and the timing the required funding for it. Projects need to be clearly defined during the internal budget review process and before a board member or council member asks related questions in a public meeting. A project can be divided into three categories, such as that is necessary for future growth, a project required for the existing system and users, and a project that addresses the needs of existing users and future growth. Growth-related capital projects expand the system's capabilities or capacity and an increase in population or commercial or industrial expansion creates the need for buying new surface water rights.


Baird G.M.,AWI Consulting LLC
Journal - American Water Works Association | Year: 2013

Experts suggest that better management of funding and effective planning can play a key role in the development of future water infrastructure. Several difficult decisions need to be made to achieve these objectives, including the engagement of public relations address the concerns of the public. An inspector needs to be a part of of a project to ensure a quality installation to extend the asset life. Accepting the resource gaps between the actual project implementation and the financial resources is a key step in deciding the next steps essential for better coordination between engineering and finance and acquire the necessary funding. The challenge for many such projects is to assess various options and risk tolerances to make better economic decisions, which help in balancing the competing needs and developing corrective measures when things change.


Baird G.M.,AWI Consulting LLC | Baird G.M.,Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Journal - American Water Works Association | Year: 2013

The core concept of infrastructure asset management is to manage a utility's assets in a cost effective manner by intervening at strategic points in an asset's life cycle to extend the asset's life and maintain an acceptable level of service. This can entail a number of repairs, maintenance, and rehabilitation activities, until finally the asset is replaced. Each improvement will change the asset's life cycle and create the need for a data-intensive and organized effort of continual monitoring and improvement. The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), through its Aging Water Infrastructure Research Program, and the Water Environment Foundation teamed up to fund the WATER Infrastructure Database (WATERiD). Combined with academic research, case studies, cost analysis, and simulation tools, asset managers will be able to better justify the costs of infrastructure investments as well as operations, maintenance and project delivery.


Baird G.M.,AWI Consulting LLC
Journal - American Water Works Association | Year: 2012

Experts associated with the US water industry suggest that public-private partnerships and private ownership of utilities can play a key role in addressing the challenges being faced by such utilities. They suggest that the consideration of partnership needs to avoid a demoralizing review of utility failures, but include progressive thinking that solves problems. The work required to find answers to different types of risk management queries will direct a utility's path toward infrastructure asset management planning and the higher levels of needs, such esteem in which trust building and partnering can be successful and actualization in which a utility can survive through problem-solving with accurate data. The best case scenario for private funding is that any cost savings are used to pay for the utility's infrastructure needs including the implementation of asset management practices.


Baird G.M.,AWI Consulting LLC
Journal - American Water Works Association | Year: 2012

Various public-private partnerships for municipal utilities are aimed to control costs and be more competitive while complying with increasingly stringent regulatory requirements. The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships defines P3s as a contractual agreement between a public agency and a private sector entity that is based on the perceived required needs, which the utility may be able to provide. In the US 85% of the water utilities are owned or controlled by local governments where long-term issues include public health, reliability and security, asset protection, asset investment, staff investment, and efficiency. The Pennsylvania governor's office has found that more than $113 billion of maintenance work is needed by water and sewer companies during the next 20 years. Studies have found that water leaders with operational, legal, and financial stewardship should carefully clarify and compare the management objectives of their utilities against the various opportunities for alternative management structures.


Baird G.M.,AWI Consulting LLC
Journal / American Water Works Association | Year: 2010

A broad understanding of the unique factors that make up a utility's water demand and revenue characteristics is necessary to address the effects of imbalance between revenue stability requirements and water conservation objectives. The reason of this imbalance is found to be due to water use restrictions, conservation programs, and conservation rates resulted in a sustained lower level of water demand and therefore less water sales revenue. Utility management enterprises need to be aware of customer service expectations, more transparent in business transactions, and more diligent in defense of community water requirements in the short and long term. It is also required to develop a data warehouse to analyze and review historical trends and the relationship of various variables such as consumption, weather, conservation restrictions, growth, and revenue generation by customer class.

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